Paly Community Update

Friday, February 11, 2022

Principal Update

HI Viking Families!

Last night I was inspired by a couple of things. As I was heading out to attend the Paly Choir’s Pop concert, I took the opportunity to watch a few minutes of our boy’s lacrosse practice. I was impressed by the number of student athletes practicing on the field. According to our Lacrosse Varsity Coach DJ Shelton, this year’s turn out is the largest he has seen in a very long time. It is so nice to see our students getting involved in activities outside of the school day that helps to build character, perseverance, and community.

My next stop was the choir concert. The most important thought that I want to share with you is how wonderful it was to be able to listen to a live performance from our excellent student performers. Many of our performance ensembles took a hit during COVID. As Mr. Najar communicated to the audience last night, Zoom does not work as a venue to showcase this type of performance. Although this year’s choir might be slightly smaller than in years past, the level of talent topped the charts in my book! As a musician and performer, it was so nice to hear such great talent combined with enormous amounts of joy that was delivered by the members of the Paly Choirs. I would encourage all of our students to rekindle their talents by involving themselves in one of our several performance groups and athletic teams. Our students need to get out and play now more than ever!

I was also inspired this week by a couple of student meetings that I had the pleasure of attending. The first was my monthly meeting with the students on the Principal Advisory Committee (PAC). The agenda for this meeting was created by the student membership. The perspective of our students and their experiences is important to me as I continue to work on providing all students with an equitable learning experience at Paly. During our meeting, I heard their perspective and suggestions on our PRIME period, the need for extended hours of operation for our library, the need for additional quiet study areas during lunch, and suggestions on how to help students have a greater understanding of the course selection process.

Another inspiring meeting this week was a meeting with students in our RISE club. We have been collaborating with student representatives from RISE on our upcoming Title IX & consent presentation, which will be delivered to students later this spring. These students have been incredibly insightful and professional in providing our administrative and counseling team with important suggestions on how to deliver this important message in a student-friendly manner.

So you might think that all that I do is go to meetings! That is partly true, but I believe that I spend more of my time visiting classrooms and wandering around this beautiful campus. In our classrooms our teachers and support staff continue to do amazing work planning and delivering engaging lessons. I am amazed by the level of sustainment and enthusiasm that is being displayed by our Paly staff. And our students continue to bring back that amazing school spirit through on-going activities in the quad or simply in their interactions with one another throughout the day.

Bike Thefts

We have had an increase in bike thefts as of late. In the majority of cases, students’ bicycles were not locked. In a recent check around the bike racks, more than 40 were not locked. Please remind your student to lock their bikes.

Athletics Update

Great News! The indoor spectator restriction has been lifted. Indoor events are no longer limited to immediate household family members. We look forward to your attendance at our Winter Athletic events!

Thank you for attending the Spring Sport’s Informational last night! The PRESENTATION slides are linked and there are (3) three take-aways from the presentation listed below. If you have additional questions please contact Athletic Director Nelson Gifford or visit our website at

AP TEST Update

The deadline for signing up for AP tests, with a late fee, is March 4th. Students should confirm that they are signed up through their College Board account, and have paid through their Total Registration account to confirm that they have completed registration. Due to a large number of students taking AP tests, as well as limited facilities, some students will need to take their tests during the late testing sessions. Students will be informed of their test dates at least a month prior to the tests. If you have any questions, please contact Komal Bawa at

Guidance Updates

Foothill Middle College - Information Session & Open House – Sophomores MC Student Information Session at PALY

Are you a bright, curious free-thinker who is yearning for a more mature environment? Are you looking for a supportive and accepting community? Are you capable of doing college level work? Foothill Middle College is now recruiting students from Palo Alto Unified and Mountain View-Los Altos High School Districts for next school year. Middle College is an alternative program that serves bright students who may not be performing up to their full potential, or students who are dissatisfied with the traditional high school environment. The program is located on the Foothill campus and offers students the opportunity to attend both high school and college classes concurrently. Students accepted into the Middle College program leave their home school and take all of their classes on the Foothill College campus. Every Middle College student completes graduation requirements and receives a diploma from his/her home school. Come meet the teachers & students and learn more about the program at our

Open House:

MC Open House for Students and Parents - Mandatory Meeting!*

Feb 16, 2022 6-8pm Appreciation Hall rm 1501 @ Foothill College (map)

* Mask and proof of vaccination, or negative Covid test results within 72 hours of meeting, are required.

College Now! - Information Session & Open House

The MVLA High School District, Palo Alto School District, and Foothill College have collaborated on a new program - College Now! - so that qualifying juniors and seniors can start college early and graduate from high school with a year or more of transferable credits.

College Now! is ideal for students who are highly self-motivated, mature, independent, responsible, and hardworking. These students may have 'outgrown' high school and are seeking a stimulating educational environment that is different from their home high school.

Join us at our upcoming Open House:

College Now! Open House for Students and Parents at Foothill*

Feb 17, 2022 6-8pm Hearthside Lounge rm 2313 @ Foothill College (map)

* Mask and proof of vaccination, or negative Covid test results within 72 hours of meeting, are required.

Advisory Update

As mentioned before, February is Course Selection Month. 9th, 10th, and 11th-grade students have been introduced to Course Selection in Advisory and reviewed the directions for making their choices. During these Advisories, students were able to talk to their TAs and address any questions they might have. TAs will review student selections and meet with their students if they have any questions or concerns. If you'd like to read the step-by-step process, as well as the directions for submitting the Course Selection materials, please click on the links below:

Once again, here are the links to the supporting materials to help students make their choices:

Important Due Dates for Course Selection:

9th Grade

Feb 17th - Turn In Signed Course Selection Sheets and AP Contract (if applicable) to TA in


10th Grade

Feb 25th - Turn In Signed Course Selection Sheets and AP Contract (if applicable) to TA in Advisory

11th Grade

Feb 11th & Feb 25th - Turn In Signed Course Selection Sheets and AP Contract (if applicable) to TA in Advisory. We have allocated more time for the Jrs to turn in their selections so TAs can review with them their choices for Sr. year to ensure students are fulfilling their graduation requirements.

College & Career Center updates


Application Status Reminders & Admissions Decisions for Seniors

While many seniors might not receive admission results until April, others will learn of acceptances earlier (often online through the application status portals). Some seniors have already heard good news as a few of the CSU campuses have started releasing admissions decisions; congratulations! Be aware that there are deadlines to meet even after students are admitted.

Some colleges host events for admitted students to help them gain more information to make matriculation decisions. While many of these events will be hosted virtually, students are entitled to miss 5 days of school senior year to visit colleges, providing they complete and submit the approval form to the Attendance office, in advance. While teachers are supportive of students missing class to visit colleges, missing class during Spring can be challenging. Students need to demonstrate responsibility by planning ahead with their schoolwork and turning it in/planning to take quizzes/tests in advance and use Tutorial to meet with teachers--ahead of college visits--to create agreement.

If students want to live on campus, it is suggested they visit the campuses' housing websites to sign up--even before they learn an admission decision--as requests to live in residence halls will fill up fast at large, public colleges like the CSUs and UCs. A deposit might be required so research deadlines and cancellation policies.

Watch for deadlines for next steps: (a) intent to enroll, (b) signing up for required summer bridge programs (like the Early Start Program at the CSU)--if applicable, and (c) signing up for orientation. It is fair to wait until April 1--by which students should learn their application decisions (and financial aid packages--again, often online through the application status portals) from all campuses--before deciding where to accept admission. Typically the deadline for these important tasks is May 1--but orientation dates fill up quickly. At orientation, an advisor will help students register for classes, so attending an early orientation session gives students a better shot at signing up for the classes they want. In addition, many colleges and universities will require up-to-date immunizations before students matriculate to campus; if needed, schedule these in advance of orientation.

Community Service

Spring submissions for the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) is TBD. There will be a notification posted in Schoology, InFocus and PalyLink when the dates are determined. In the meantime, be sure you have entered all your hours on HelperHelper and if you need log in help, email

For more information regarding the President’s Volunteer Service Award, check out our Paly Community Service page

Work Permits

Many local job sites continue to be interested in hiring your child, please check out the updated Spring 2022 job opportunities slidedeck for listings and remember that all minors hired in a paid position through a company require a work permit. Follow this link for more info and explore the Work Experience Student Resources or contact the Work Experience teacher: Rachael Kaci

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